Char Siu Recipe

20 thoughts on “Char Siu Recipe”

  1. You don’t need rose water as you should be able to find rose wine (mui-Kwai-Lo) in China Town liquor store, or grocery store. It is transparent color.

    1. I use very little rose water. I was thinking about using some Chinese rose wine but I already have plenty of salt from the Shao Xing which is why I went with a dash of the water. Have you had good luck with the rose wine?

    1. Nope. Way too dry. Aim for a shoulder or butt. That way the fat can drip through the meat and keep it moist.

  2. Hi, it is nice that you put a lot of thought and research into this recipe. So many recipes are too simple or inaccurate and lazy.

    I was wondering about the rose water; this ingredient surprised me and, whereas you justified your other ingredients, you didn’t explain how you arrived at this one. It’s intriguing me.

    1. I like a little floral note that the compliment well with the star anise. I read this long ago that sometimes it was used so I tried it and it was quite nice..remember..just a tiny splash.

      1. i haven’t tried cooking this yet. just wanted to say try swapping out the rose water for bamboo or lotus water. boil some lotus root for lotus water, bamboo chutes for bam water.

        1. Interesting idea. What I like about rose water is the intensity of just a tiny spritz. I’ll experiment with lotus water and see how it goes. Thanks.

  3. Has anyone tried to cook the pork in an oven? Any recommendations on temperatures setting and cooking time?


    1. I have done the pork in the oven many times. It’s a careful juggle on broil with me rotating it every 1-2 minutes for about 10-12 minutes.

  4. Pretty good recipe. I agree to leave out the 5 Spice, it can really overpower the whole dish. But there is one spice that you DO need to truly make it authentic. After trying to find chef #1 that can speak good enough english & #2 would agree to tell me, I discovered it is Stare Anise
    Also very strong but key to the recipe. Also, one other important thing to mention is that if you sub maltose with brown sugar, make sure it is dark brown sugar and if you use the maltose it is better to heat the ingredients up in a wok or pan first. I prefer the latter. It gives it that extra sticky char when you cook it. One other side note is the for coloring. It only adds to the aesthetics of the dish an I you insist on adding some coloring, stay away from #40 Red dye as it is known to be harmful. Instead, you can use natural dye from beets I you can find it. It still want b as red bull will definitely add more color.

    1. Thanks. Since writing this post I have been able to talk to many other bloggers and a couple cooks in China Town over here in NYC. Anise is a decent aromatic and can definitely be used…but sparingly.

      Again, the must haves for this Chinese red pork is the Wangzhihe Fermented Traditional Bean Curd. For an authentic taste, you simply can’t substitute anything.

      And to your point, maltose would be great if you can find it. I can pick it up from beer brewing stores.

    1. Pork Butt. If that is unavail. then shoulder will work as well. You want that bit of marbling.

  5. Hi,
    Just had a go a this,
    all I can say is I think you are right about the fermented red bean curd Wow I stuck to your recipe up till the point of glazing the pork whilst cooking what I did was drain the pork and boil the marinade for about 20 min and add a 3/4 cup of brown sugar and I used this to baste the pork.

    Bloody heel is this not the best pork or what.

    Thanks for shearing



    1. Glad you liked it and it worked for you. You could probably experiment with a few ways to cook this. Clearly an open BBQ would be ideal. Cheers!

    1. A little over 2 lbs. of pork butt (or shoulder). You need to cut it in proper strips and then over it with the marinate. If the strips are too thick they end up drying out. If they are too thin, they become too salty.

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